Pedro Cera

Anna Hulačová

The Next Shift

Anna Hulačová

The Next Shift

The work of Czech artist Anna Hulačová is ingrained deeply in the medium of sculpture. Exploring through a wide range of traditional sculptural techniques, the intricate set of relations between the animate and the digital, evolution and mutation, the local and the global, utopia and dystopia, Hulačová forms a distinct artistic language, characteristic for its formal and thematic richness, associative symbolism, and formal ties with the past.

While early works of Hulačová disclose a deep interest in folk art, primitivism, indigenous cultures, and ethnography at large, her more recent body of work is distinctive for its links with socialist sculpture. Although the work of Anna Hulačová does not make the renegotiation of the socialist past a central theme to her work, her approach does surpass the brutalist aesthetic characteristic for her sculptures, where the past is on the one hand a way to understand the present, while on the other a possible source for the construction of a post-capitalist future.

The Next Shift brings together a new group of works, with the female figure as the central motive. We are faced with the theme of everyday life, old as art itself. Five figures, all surrendered to their domestic tasks, each carrying a utilitarian device, and following what appears to be a theatrical sense of automatized choreography, the work, despite its domestic context, resembles industrialization themes factory labor, mechanical reproduction, and technological progress. Stripped of their identity through the absence of the face, the sculptures translate a heightened sense of robotic behavior, shaping one of each sculpture’s multiple identities. The shadows, cast under each of the five figures, initiate an associative play tied to each figure’s task, shaping a silent commentary on traditional role division within the family nucleus. Trapped in daily life automatization, the sculptures shape a dystopic environment absent of any social relations and interpersonal interaction. The machine, in this case, a domestic device, becomes an inseparable part of the body, rendering the role of the master and the servant ambiguous. Insinuating a sense of madness and delirium, highlighted in the absurdity of some of the sculpture’s actions, the animism of their natural or utilitarian parts, may these be smiling plants or laughing pots, or by the endless repetition of anonymous silhouettes marching into a post-industrial infinity, the exhibition questions our technology-driven present through the tropes of the domestic environment.

Anna Hulačová, Woman with a Blender, 2020

concrete, metal and graphite, 148 × 46 × 75 cm

Combining a wide range of techniques and materials, Hulačová furthers the exploration of her themes in the materiality of the work. By combining brutalist features such as concrete, a central material of the work with organic forms, Hulačová points to our time’s hybrid nature, where seemingly distant or even opposed forms merge and mutate into a new reality. The greyness of the material furthered by the greyness of Hulačová’s drawings heightens the apocalyptic nature of the work, initiating a play of the haptic, where the hard and the soft, the dry and the wet, the smooth and the rough, become a reminder that materiality, physical experience and encounter have yet not been rendered obsolete.

Anna Hulačová, Woman with a Mixer, 2020

concrete, metal and graphite, 150 × 47,5 × 90 cm

Anna Hulačová, Woman with a Whisk, 2020

concrete, metal, acrylic filler and graphite, 146,5 × 73 × 43 cm

Anna Hulačová, Woman with a Sewing Machine, 2020

concrete, metal and graphite, 112,5 × 49 × 65 cm

Anna Hulačová, Woman with an Iron, 2020

concrete, metal and graphite, 144 × 62 × 92 cm

Anna Hulačová, Flower Wall Planter, 2018

metal, concrete and graphite, 110 × 150 × 25 cm

Anna Hulačová, Reliefs (untitled), 2020

acrystal acrylic resin, cast from silicon mould, 322 × 57 × 4 cm

Anna Hulačová (1984, Sušice, Czech Republic) has exhibited her work at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, NL, Baltic Triennal; Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Vilnius; Prague City Gallery, Collorado-Mansfeld Palace, Prague; Biennale Gherdeina, Ortisei, IT; National Gallery, Trade Fair Palace, Prague; K11 MUSEA, Hong Kong; MO.CO. Montpellier Contemporaine, FR; West Bohemian Gallery, Pilsen CZ; East Slovak Regional Gallery, Košice, SK; CEAAC, Strasbourg, FR and Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg, among other. Her work is in included in the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Prague City Gallery, Prague; Liberec Modern Art Gallery, Liberec, CZ; Kunsthalle Praha, Prague; Hradec Králové Modern Art Gallery, Hradec Králové, CZ, Q Contemporary, Budapest and Hong Kong and East Bohemian Regional Gallery in Pardubice, Pardubice, CZ among other.

The exhibition is supported by Garantir Cultura: COMPETE 2020 | PORTUGAL 2020 | FEDER